Gavin Aung Than (@zenpencils) is a New York Times bestselling cartoonist, illustrator, and author. Gavin is a cartoonist based in Melbourne, Australia. After working in the corporate graphic design industry for eight years, he quit his unfulfilling job at the end of 2011 to focus on his true passion, drawing cartoons. Gavin launched his website, Zen Pencils, at the start of 2012, a cartoon blog which adapts inspirational quotes into comic stories, and hasn’t looked back since.
Zen Pencils has been featured by The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Slate, Mashable, Upworthy, Buzzfeed, Gawker, The A.V. Club, Brain Pickings, Comic Book Resources,National Geographic, ProBlogger, and The Design Files. It was named one of the best 100 websites by PCMag and there are two New York Times bestselling book collections of Zen Pencils comics currently available. Gavin’s most current book, CREATIVE STRUGGLE: Illustrated Advice From Masters of Creativity is also out wherever books are sold.
In this episode, we discuss how Gavin got started in his journey to become a bestselling cartoonist and the struggles that he overcame in getting to there, especially starting out. We talk about his creative process and what it takes to make Zen Pencils comics and books. Gavin also dives in to what he learned by taking risks in his career and starting his own company and brand. Gavin provides some great stories, advice, and tips for everybody, no matter what industry you’re in.
Lily Abdelmalek (IG: lilydsatraining) is a professional sports performance training. She owns and operates Atlanta-based DSA Training where she is the go-to trainer for that many professional athletes depend on in the offseason for peak performance.
Some of Lily’s clients include: NFL players Eric Berry, A.J. Bouye, Takeo Spikes, and Jamal Lewis; NBA players Jaylen Brown and Dwight; and she also works with MLB player Jason Heyward, plus countless other professional athletes.
SB Nation said of Lily, “You can find her with a group of NFL linebackers or defensive backs, or in smaller groups with NBA or college basketball players. But Abdelmalek’s work goes deeper than just pro athletes. She is helping aspiring sports stars in the metro Atlanta area at local high schools, or at the Forum Athletic Club in Buckhead.”
In this episode, we discuss how Lily got her start in the sports performance business, the things that she has learned along the way, plus Lily opens up and talks about how the obsession with owning her own business and training professional athletes has impacted her personal life–for the better and the worse.
Lily was a fantastic interview and you can hear in her voice how much she genuinely cares about all of her clients. She tells the story of going from an intern to one of the most trusted sports performance coaches in the business. I learned a lot from Lily and I know that you will too.
4:27 – What she was most impressed with working with NBA star Jaylen Brown
5:12 – On her career change from physical therapy to sports performance
7:17 – On the biggest challenges she faces being a female in a male dominated industry
8:33 – On how she got her clients to trust her at the beginning
9:50 – Lily on starting her own training company
11:00 – On how she developed her ability to train professional athletes
12:43 – The things that her athletes have taught her and why she loves training defensive backs
14:50 – On watching film to study her clients
18:24 – Her typical training day schedule
19:50 – On bringing in other professional athletes to help coach her clients
22:48 – On how she deals with the days when she is tired, stressed, and worn out
24:13 – How Lily balances work life vs. personal life
28:13 – Why Lily thinks clients keep coming back to train with her
30:23 – On how she gets professional athletes to change their thinking and correct their technique
34:08 – Lily on the most common mistakes average athletes make
35:26 – On what she thinks trainers waste the most time on
38:28 – Lily’s best bang-for-your-buck exercise
39:36 – What Lily learned from working for renowned speed trainer Loren Seagrave
40:40 – The role of competing within her training program
43:21 – On how nervous she gets working with professional athletes
47:48 – On how she compares herself to others
48:55 – On what she envisioned her life being before the training
49:49 – On how she battled the times when she wanted to give up
51:01 – On the hard times when she first started
52:13 – On how to build toughness and perseverance
52:51 – The struggle that she’s proudest to have overcome
55:02 – Lily’s mentors and they best advice they’ve given
56:56 – What Lily wishes she would’ve known at the beginning of her journey
57:34 – The product Lily thinks everybody should be using
58:16 – Daily habits that contributes most to Lily’s success
58:35 – What Lily thinks most people don’t understand about being successful
59:28 – Lily’s thoughts on social media
1:00:37 – The message Lily would broadcast to the world
Joe Theismann (@Theismann7) is a former NFL MVP, Super Bowl champion, broadcaster, author, and restaurateur. Joe is best known for his NFL career with the Washington Redskins where he played quarterback, guiding the Redskins to the Super Bowl championships by 1982. Joe followed up the next season by winning the NFL Most Valuable Player award in 1983.
Following his infamous career-ending leg injury, Joe worked as a broadcaster and analyst for ESPN for nearly 20 years while also working on a broadcast team with the NFL Network. Additionally, Joe is a restaurateur, owning Theismann’s Restaurant and Bar. He also performs as a speaker for corporate events, speaking on topics such as leadership and self-motivation.
In this episode, we discuss aspects of Joe’s career that many do not know about it, including his decision to forego the NFL and play in the Canadian Football League. We talk Joe’s infamous leg injury and how it affected his career and forced him to embrace change in his life. Ever the storyteller, Joe takes us many inspirational, funny, and life changing aspects of his life.
We talk about all of this and more with Joe’s contagious enthusiasm and motivational nuggets of advice that he’s adopted from his incredible journey.
2:40 – The story behind why he changed his last name at Notre Dame
6:45 – On why Joe chose to play football at Notre Dame
9:48 – How he went from punt returner to starting quarterback
13:48 – On his decision to play pro football in Canada instead of the NFL
19:58 – What Joe thinks separated him from other quarterbacks
22:40 – The things that Joe mentally struggled with during his NFL career
26:25 – Joe talks about his infamous leg injury and the aftermath of it on his career
32:33 – Lessons Joe learned from his 23 years in broadcasting
34:00 – On why Joe chose broadcasting over coaching
35:35 – On what Joe thinks most people don’t understand about being successful
37:45 – On embracing change in life
39:22 – The things that Joe thinks are important in life
Show Links:Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League
Theismann’s Restaurant and Bar
Theme music: DREAM by SackJo22 ft. Jeris Haskel
Joe Abunassar (@Joe_Abunassar) is the founder of Impact Basketball and has been a trainer and mentor for over 20 years to some of the best basketball players in the world including the likes of Kevin Garnett, Chauncey Billups, DeMarcus Cousins, Kyle Lowry, and Kristaps Porzingis, among countless others. Joe is also an accomplished triathlete, having completed 17 IronMan triathlons and qualifying for the IronMan World Championships.
In this episode, we discuss Joe’s start in triathlon racing, his IronMan training regimen, his time at Indiana working under Bob Knight, how he got his starting in personal skill development, the early days of training Kevin Garnett and Chauncey Billups, his advice and thoughts on the current state of training elite athletes, and much more.
5:00 – How Joe’s triathlon career got started.
8:40 – The mentality of training and running an IronMan race.
10:05 – Joe hiring his own IronMan coach.
12:25 – Joe’s typical weekly training schedule for an IronMan.
14:55 – Growing up playing lacrosse versus basketball.
15:28 – How reading A Season on the Brink changed his life’s path.
16:38 – What it was like being a manager under Bob Knight at Indiana.
21:23 – Story of Joe’s experience of making a mistake working for Bob Knight.
25:56 – Bob Knight’s philosophy of no excuses.
28:45 – His dislike of recruiting as assistant coach at the University of Wyoming.
32:23 – Joe’s entry into his professional player development career.
34:32 – Joe on running Kevin Garnett’s fan club and summer camp.
38:07 – How he turned his training into a business.
41:00 – How Joe gained NBA players’ trust when he was starting out.
44:10 – Why he thinks NBA players continue to train with him.
44:43 – His favorite Kevin Garnett story.
46:42 – The importance of getting Kevin Garnett to change his diet.
47:27 – Kevin Garnett using shoes as defenders in workouts.
47:52 – Chauncey Billups story on getting to the gym early.
49:06 – Joe’s philosophy on the focus on attention to detail.
50:02 – The growing pains and mistakes Joe made in his early days of training players.
53:50 – The importance of rest, recovery, and giving his athletes time off.
56:10 – On what Joe thinks a recovery day should look like.
57:12 – How Joe structures and customizes his NBA client workouts.
58:22 – Myles Turner typical weekly off-season training schedule.
1:00:12 – NBA players who are successful despite being poorly built for it.
1:01:58 – Athletes Joe refuses to work with.
1:02:56 – Biggest wastes of time that he sees in training.
1:05:00 – Joe’s best bang-for-your buck exercises and drills.
1:06:38 – The philosophy that has been the most important in Joe’s career.
1:07:42 – Joe’s mentors and the best advice they’ve given him.
1:10:15 – The worst advice he hears given.
1:11:08 – On why he doesn’t use social media to promote his clients.
1:13:48 – Joe’s message that he wants to broadcast.
Show Links:Impact Basketball Online Coaching Certification ProgramIronMan TriathlonsA Season on the Brink: A Year with Bob Knight and The Indiana Hoosiers by John Feinstein
Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy at IMG Academy
Equinox Sports Club in Southern California
Theme music: DREAM by SackJo22 ft. Jeris Haskel